By Suzanne (“Nana”)
What better way to spend a day than cooking and eating with loved ones?
Full disclosure: I always buy one bottle of expensive French champagne, which makes the day all the more enjoyable!
For many years, our Thanksgiving meals did not include turkey. My vegetarian phase during the ‘80s and ‘90s inspired us to create imaginative and (usually) delicious “turkeys” crafted from tofu, seitan, or sometimes a hubbard squash!
In recent years I’ve purchased organic, pastured turkeys from our Amish friends. While all those years of vegetarianism left me with only rudimentary meat-cooking skills, turkey is pretty simple to prepare. I always make stuffing using sprouted bread and lots of onions and celery. Because Maia and I don’t eat much turkey, I make sure to have lots of vegetables—usually brussel sprouts, salad, green beans, and sweet potatoes or yams.
The highlight of this year’s meal for me was the yams, so I’ll provide my preparation below.
Yams and sweet potatoes are among my favorite vegetables. They provide plenty of sweet taste all on their own, but for a special dish on a holiday I make them even sweeter and richer. This recipe is my healthier adaptation of the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Thanksgiving dish of candied sweet potatoes–a classic where I grew up in Lancaster, PA.
- 6 medium sweet potatoes
- pinch of sea salt
- About ¼ cup of butter or your choice of fat (olive oil or coconut oil or whatever you enjoy)
- About ¼ cup of maple syrup or maple sugar or to taste (the classic Amish recipe calls for ¾ a cup of brown sugar!)
- Cook the whole sweet potatoes by covering with water and simmering at a medium temperature.
- Once cool enough to touch, remove the peels and cut the potatoes in half lengthwise.
- Heat the butter or oil in a skillet or frying pan. Add maple syrup and stir. Add ½ to ¾ cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Lay sweet potato halves in syrup and cook slowly, using a metal spatula to turn halves so both sides brown evenly.
Makes 6 servings